Who We Are


Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR) is a research project for youth affected by disasters. YCDR is connecting with youth in disaster-affected communities in Canada and the United States. We are using art, video, and storytelling to hear directly from youth about what they need, the challenges they have faced, and how they might contribute to helping their friends, families, and communities recover from disasters. 

Project Goals

  • To advance our understanding of what supports youth recovering from disasters in order to improve how communities, governments and non-government organizations respond to disasters.
  • To build upon existing theories of disaster recovery and resilience so they better incorporate the needs and contributions of youth.
  • To directly engage youth in fun, creative activities designed to empower them and provide opportunities to contribute to their own and others recovery and resilience through peer-to-peer networking, creative workshops, and an online repository for creative expression following disaster.


  • This project is a joint endeavor of Royal Roads University and Colorado State University, and is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Our Team

Hi! My name is Robin Cox and I am the Principal Investigator and Co-Founder of the Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR) project. I am also a Professor at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia Canada where I lead graduate programs in Disaster and Emergency Management. Working in communities with youth and the caring adults in their lives is absolutely the best part of my job. I am so inspired and profoundly moved by the stories youth continue to share with us and the ways in which they help their friends, families and communities to rebuild and recover from disasters. I truly believe in the power of creativity to support resilience and I see this over and over in the amazing stories youth are sharing with us. My deepest wish is that these stories will inspire and empower other youth to give voice to their stories, and become leaders of resilience and recovery locally and globally. When I am not researching or teaching, I hang out with loved ones, my two legged and four legged friends, write poetry, and spend as much time as possible swimming, walking and cycling in nature. For more information about Robin and her research go to rscox.net.

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Hello! My name is Lori Peek and I am so honored to serve as the Co-Principal Investigator and Co-Founder of the Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR) project! The youth involved in YCDR have taught me so much – through their words, the things they create, and through their actions. I have been deeply moved, inspired, and challenged by the things I have heard and seen, and I am so incredibly grateful for the thoughts and experiences that young people have generously shared with our team. I hope that as YCDR continues to grow and as more and more youth have the opportunity to tell their post-disaster recovery stories, that we will see more and more young people taking the lead in disaster preparedness and recovery efforts. In addition to my work with YCDR, I am also an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Co-Director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis at Colorado State University. I love my work very, very much, and I also love to travel, to run, to hike, and to spend time with loved ones. 


Hi! My name is Jennifer Tobin-Gurley and I am the Research Coordinator for Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR) and the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis (CDRA). I am also a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University. I truly have one of the best jobs in the world! I am so lucky to be a part of YCDR. The young people I have met so far have been some of the most passionate, creative, and inspiring human beings. I look forward to working with and learning from many more youth as this project expands. It is my hope that YCDR can provide a space for youth to explore their recovery process and for adults to learn from young people about the capacities and opportunities that exist when they are engaged in decision-making following a disaster. When I am not coordinating research with youth, I spend my time with my two young children and wonderful husband. 



Hi! My name is Cheryl Heykoop and I am a Research Associate with the Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR) Project. I am also the Education and Deputy Director with the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, and recently completed my Doctorate in Social Sciences at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  My dissertation research explored how children and youth in Uganda can safely and meaningfully share their experiences of war and conflict. I feel children and youth have so much to contribute, yet their voices and perspectives are often unheard. I am excited about the YCDR project because it provides space for young people to share their unique ideas and thoughts on disaster recovery and resilience. I hope the YCDR project offers opportunities for youth to creatively share their stories with youth and adults, and can help shift how young people are involved and supported in disaster preparedness, mitigation, and recovery to increase their resilience. Your voices are important! When I’m not learning with young people, I am often traversing lakes and mountains, travelling, and striving to be authentically me.


Hi there!  My name is Sarah Michaud and I am a research assistant working in collaboration with Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR). I am simultaneously pursuing an MA in Environmental Education and Communication through Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  The YCDR project is about making connections.  As the project grows, I am excited to see how youth from different places can inspire each other to make all kinds of lemonade with the lemons that disaster events have left in their lives. My hope for the YCDR project is for all who have been and will be connected to it.  I hope all of us will be able to go forward from many forms of recovery knowing deeply that within all of our struggles lie possibilities for our greatest creativity and flourishing.  Apart from soaking in all that YCDR has to teach me, I am usually pleasantly lost in the great outdoors, my thoughts, a painting, or the company of those I love.

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Hello! My name is Kylie Pybus and I am very excited to join Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR) as a Research Assistant. I am a graduate student in public health at the Colorado School of Public Health and love learning about global health, Latin America, and youth’s experiences with health. I have been lucky to learn from many energetic, innovative, and thoughtful youth and know that young people have powerful capabilities when sharing their stories and teaching their peers and community members. In addition to working with YCDR, I also learn from youth participating in disaster recovery with the SHOREline project through the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis (CDRA).  In my free time I love to hike with friends and family, play the piano, and travel.